MAJESTIC THEATRES
 


At various times, from 1908 to 1930, there have been from 2 to 8 different Majestic Theaters.  All 8 have been on Main Street and there were often
4 at the same time.  They were listed in the Memphis Directories as #1, #2, #3, #4, New #2, and New #1.  The earliest two are #1 and #2 .The youngest is New #1. 
It gets a lot more confusing!!!   When the Majestic Amusement Company placed the  1912 ad on the right,  there were 3 Majestics - #2, #3, #4.  When Memphis celebrated its Centennial in 1919, "The Majestics" placed another ad in the newspaper.  At this time,  there were three different  Majestics  -  #1, #2, and OLD #1.


1912 Ad


1919 Ad

 
In 1919, this article appeared in the News Scimitar listing all the Majestic Name Changes   >>

   
 

 

   
#1 Majestic 158 N.  Main   .   First listing in Memphis Directory -1909  .  Listed 1909-1910
 
   

Frank Montgomery purchased The Theatorium from Charles Dinstuhl in 1908 and renamed it the Majestic #1.  This is the first of many Memphis theaters owned by Frank Montgomery.  His company was named "The Majestic Amusement Company" and managed all the Majestic and Empire Theaters and was co-owned by the President  R. C. Tarlton and Secretary C. T. Bridges.  In 1919 the Majestic Amusement Co became "Memphis Enterprises".  In 1921 Memphis Enterprises became "Consolidated Enterprises".

   
 

Majestic #1

Majestic #1-Theatorium

Majestic #1 - Theatorium

 
#1 Majestic 49 S.  Main  .   First listing in Memphis Directory -1912
 

In 1910 or 1911, the Majestic at 49 S. Main became the second "Majestic No 1".  The offices of "Majestic Amusement Company" were above this theater.  On the photo of the theater, it's possible to read "Majestic No 1 across the top of the building.  The photo below, dates from a 1916 book and the silent movie is "Captain Macklin" which was released in 1915.  This majestic is listed in the Memphis Directories from 1912 - 1919.   See this theater in the 1912 photo below. In 1919, this theatre became the SAVOY for two years and showed first run silent movies.

 
         

Majestic #1

Building 2012

Majestic #1 - 1912

Savoy

#1   1906

 

#2 Majestic There were also two, #2 Majestics - 138 S Main and 146 S. Main.


 

#2 Majestic - #2 Empire - #2 Bijou 146 S. Main


This is the earliest
#2 Majestic,  listed in the 1909-13 directories.  It became the Empire #2 in 1914, listed in the 1914-1918 directories.  This building became the Bijou #2 in 1920, listed in the 1920-1922 directories.  The 146 S. Main address has now been verified with a street number appearing on a building in the 1909 photo below.  "Majestic #2" also appears on the awning.


 

146 S. Main

 Bijou #2

Bijou #2

Bijou #2

 

Majestic #2 - 1909

Majestic #2

Majestic #2 - 1911

Majestic #2 on Awning

Majestic #2 1909

#2 Majestic   .  138 S. Main        
 

Majestic #2 at the 138 S. Main address is listed in the 1914-1919 Directories

We now know the photo of the #2 Majestic at 138 S. Main is the same building as The Strand Movie Theater.  It became the Strand in 1920.

 
   
 

 

#3 Majestic 80 N.  Main   .  #1 Empire
 

First listing in Memphis Directory -1910   .  Listed 1910-1913

Majestic #3 became The Empire #1 around 1914.  The photo of the theater dates from a 1916 book and the movie playing at the Theater is "Runaway June" which was released in 1915.

   
 

 

#4 Majestic





 
 177 S.  Main    .  Odeon ... Dreamland ... Columbia .   



Majestic #4 was listed in the 1912 Directory - for 1 year only. This building housed the ODEON from 1907-1908, then the DREAMLAND in 1909, the COLUMBIA in 1910, and finally MAJESTIC #4 in 1912.  H. Bigler was manager of the ODEON in 1908.

   
 

 

New #2 Majestic

 135 S. Main   .   Listed  in Memphis Directory -1912, for only 1 year.  It's the narrow building sandwiched between Goldsmith's and the Gayoso Hotel.   This photo shows the building as the Bismarck Hotel, which has been verified at this address.

   
 
   
...and Majestic 144 S. Main -  listed in the 1920-22 Directory.   No number assigned to this Majestic.
   
 

 

New #1 Majestic

 

145 S. Main   .   Listed in Memphis Directory, 1915 - 1918 ... and then stops,   The listing continues for New #1 at 147 S. Main  from 1919-1923.  Listing continues for MAJESTIC (without a number) at 145-147 S. Main  from 1924-1927.  Name changes in 1928 to LOEW's MAJESTIC for one year.  No more listings for any Majestics after 1928.

 

The Majestic most people think of is the one located at 145 S. Main - known as the New #1 Majestic.  The beautiful building, which opened in 1913, is still there.  At various times it had a series of Moller organs during the silent era.  It had 1000 seats and was first listed in the Memphis Directories in 1915.  The Majestic showed silent films until 1936 when the building was sold to Julius Lewis Men's Store.  They occupied the building until 1956.  During the 60's it became a warehouse for Goldsmith's Department Store.  In the late 60's it became the Blue Light Studio (Photography) and in the 90's it was converted to a brewery and restaurant.  During this period they covered over a lot of the original details.  In 2005, Deni and Patrick Reilly purchased the building and restored it and opened the Majestic Grille in 2006.  This popular restaurant has consistently been on "Memphis Best..." lists ever since.  The two story building features a stunning terra cotta facade outlined with stud lights. On the north side is a mid-block alley where the theater had large windows on the alley side to allow ventilation.  The interior has been lovingly restored for a restaurant-pub. The stairs to the balcony were removed and a suspended ceiling installed at balcony height. Above this, the old decor has survived including the decorative proscenium.  Across the street at 138 S. main was the Majestic #2 which became the Strand Theatre in the 1920s.  

(Thanks to Deni Reilly for filling in the gaps of this history)

 

1920s

Ticket Booth

Julius Lewis 1940

Majestic Grille - Today

Majestic Grille Screen Today

         
         

 Majestic today.  The old interior decor and the bricked up ventilating window

Hart Schaffner& Marx

Blue Light 1978

    Auditorium1922

Majestic entrance

Majestic entrance 1922

 1926 Ad

Vintage Majestic

Majestic entrance 1925

1920 Ad

1920 Ad

1920 Ad

1920 Ad

1920 Ad

 

Frank Montgomery - "The Moving Pictures Man of Memphis"

     


According to many references in vintage periodicals, Frank Montgomery, known as "The Moving Pictures Man of Memphis" owned 4 Majestic Theaters and The Columbia (Princess).  He also owned theaters in Atlanta, Jacksonville, and Chicago.  Montgomery was considered a master of advertising.
 

    

Montgomery Calling Card

Montgomery 1896  photo button

 

Billboard Magazine Ads for Frank Montgomery, Majestic Amusement Co, and Majestic Theatres

 

* Frank T. Montgomery has comprehensive coverage on another page of this website Click Here.

 
 
 

Deni Reilly, Majestic Grille, 10/2011:  ...The Majestic Theatre that is the building in which we are now housed...was called The Majestic No 1 and it was owned by Mr. Bert Jordan. His son Warren who passed away 2 years ago this August was kind enough to provide us with the history of the theatre as well as some family pictures. The family also owned another theatre around the corner on Union.  I'm not sure Frank Montgomery was involved with the Majestic No. 1 - but he may have been!   Construction on the theatre began in 1912 and the theatre opened in 1913. It remained a silent picture house until 1936, when the family decided to sell the building rather than take on the expenses of putting in speakers for 'talkies..." 

 

 

 


 

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